Monday, April 10, 2006

Review: House of Wax

This would be the remake, not the William Castle original. I'm not qualified to comment on that, as I haven't seen it.

But if you wanted to describe the remake in two words, they would be: "Aggressively Unwatchable". This is a film that actively dares you to care about anything happening on-screen. It's a 100-minute movie in which absolutely nothing happens until easily the 45-minute mark. Seriously. The dramatic highlight of the first forty-five minutes is that a truck flashes its high beams at the main characters for a minute or so, then leaves. (Later on, it's presented as a plot point that a character drives THAT SAME TRUCK! Cue musical sting...except that last I checked, flashing your high beams at a bunch of rowdy campers until they break one of your headlights with a beer bottle, then driving away isn't exactly sinister behavior. Certainly not sinister enough to drive the inexplicable guilt reaction the character shows.)

Even after the 45-minute mark, the story spends a good twenty minutes or so ambling into the events we should have gotten to five minutes before the movie started, with the Cute Survivor and her Doomed Boyfriend wandering around the Creepy Town and finding the eponymous House of Wax. (Which is so blatanly silly that I must pause to explain: It's a literal House of Wax. As in, "made out of." I defy anyone to make a house which has load-bearing girders made out of wax, and further defy them to construct the house in a fashion that you could put a furnace in the basement.) From there, more non-scares ensue--there's a few creepy moments, but in general the director puts a lot of effort into trying to make you believe something's about to happen when it's not.

Oh, and it's got the worst "twist ending" you've ever seen. Finding out your pop's gone flat when you open the bottle has a better "twist ending" than 'House of Wax'.

All in all, it says a lot about how awful this movie is that I can honestly say Paris Hilton's not the worst thing in it.

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